The Power of Gossip

The Power of Gossip


By Richard Innes

Image Credit: Konstantin Postumitenk

“A gossip betrays a confidence, but a trustworthy man keeps a secret.”1

Alan Boone tells the humorous story of how, at the end of their first date, a young man takes his favorite girl home. Emboldened by the night, he decides to try for that important first kiss. With an air of confidence, he leans with his hand against the wall and, smiling, he says to her, “Darling, how about a goodnight kiss?”

Horrified, she replies, “Are you mad? My parents will see us!”

“Oh come on! Who’s gonna see us at this hour?”

“No, please. Can you imagine if we get caught?”

“Oh come on, there’s nobody around, they’re all sleeping!”

“No way. It’s just too risky!”

“Oh please, please, I like you so much!”

“No, no, and no. I like you too, but I just can’t!”

“Oh yes, you can. Please?”

“NO, no. I just can’t.”


Out of the blue, the porch light goes on, and the girl’s sister shows up in her pajamas, hair disheveled. In a sleepy voice, the sister says: “Dad says to go ahead and give him a kiss. Or I can do it. Or if need be, he’ll come down himself and do it. But for crying out loud tell him to take his hand off the intercom button!”2

Oops!  Once, after teaching a class, I was sharing personally with a friend, and my microphone was still turned on! Very embarrassing!

What can be even more devastating and disappointing is that when you have shared, in confidence, something very personal with someone that you trusted, you find that they have shared it with someone else and that someone shared it with someone else, and so on. Trust has been broken and you, rightfully, feel betrayed.

How easy it is to gossip. We can do it in numerous ways besides verbal assaults on a person’s character. When someone’s name is mentioned, all we have to do is say, “Oh, HIM!” in a negative tone of voice—or even give a dirty look at the mention of a person’s name. As another has said, “Most of us would never steal a man’s transportation, but think nothing of stealing his reputation.”

Suggested Prayer: “Dear God, please help me to guard my tongue, and always ignore and never pass on harmful gossip. Thank You for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus’ name, amen.”

1. Proverbs 11:13 (NIV).
2. Alan Smith, Boone, NC.


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